Halo Infinite’s creation mode, Forge, isn’t supposed to come out until way later this year, but apparently leaked early footage has started making the rounds this week. It looks amazing.
Forge, which has been a staple of the first-person shooter series since 2007’s Halo 3, allows players to customize their own multiplayer maps from scratch, tweak existing ones, and play matches based on the creations of others. When Halo Infinite launched in November, it did so absent the popular mode, though developer 343 Industries said it plans on adding it sometime after the game’s second season wraps. News on that front is quiet, however: A Halo Infinite roadmap planned for January has since been delayed.
The wave of leaked footage is best showcased in a nearly hour-long video of a prototype posted to YouTube, and indicates Halo Infinite’s take on Forge will be more expansive than any prior in the series. The sheer depth of the asset library on display, plus how stark a resemblance it all bears to assets from Halo Infinite, suggests this leak is legit; plus, the stuff is being widely shared by data-mining accounts that have correctly predicted additions to Halo Infinite’s multiplayer mode, including last month’s “Cyber Showdown” event.
Based on the footage, you can seemingly deploy a Library of Alexandria’s worth of Halo Infinite campaign assets, everything from Forerunner structures to decorative anti-aircraft cannons to those enigmatic mini-Halos you see all around Zeta Halo. There are also glacier objects—curious, seeing as Halo Infinite’s campaign didn’t have any ice-themed levels.
A Discord server dedicated to viewing leaked and data-mined assets from Halo Infinite also shows vehicles not currently pilotable in the multiplayer mode, like Halo: Reach’s kickass sabre. Other clips spotlighted sillier objects, like a gingerbread house and a snowman, which looks comically out of place on the desert-based Behemoth level.
That’s all in addition to presumably cosmetic effects, stuff like fireflies, floating energy orbs, holograms of the galaxy, and—this one’s my favorite—a billboard starring a Spartan hawking an energy drink called “Gauss.”
There is, sadly but understandably, still a “budget,” referring to Forge’s limited allotment of how many objects you can place on a single map before you have to start making cuts.
Where Halo Infinite’s apparent leaked Forge mode really seems to shine, though, is the option to tweak the tiniest of details. You can customize the paint jobs of vehicles from a swatch showing dozens of colors. (...if only you could do the same to your armor, huh?) You can switch up the weather; the Fragmentation map covered in snow is a payload of nostalgia for “Assault on the Control Room,” the totemic campaign level from Halo: Combat Evolved. You can also set the time of day.
The typically sun-drenched Bazaar map looks like a horror game at night time, which, fans noted, would be perfect for Halo’s Infection mode. Though not currently in Halo Infinite, Infection is the series’ popular zombie mode. One player starts with an energy sword. Everyone else starts with shotguns. Every player killed by a sword gets switched to the sword-wielding team. It’s tense—and, yes, would be perfect for Bazaar at night.
Look close at that linked clip of Bazaar, though, and you’ll see character models for cannon fodder like grunts and elites dead on the ground, teeing up the pipedream that Halo Infinite’s version of Forge could even let players design cooperative maps featuring wave-based combat against enemy AI. One data-miner spotted a spore mound, possibly intended to tie in the Flood, a parasitic enemy class that formed the narrative backbone—and some of the best sequences—of Bungie’s original trilogy.
It’s unclear when all of this stuff will roll out, or if all of it would even make it into the public build. Representatives for 343 Industries declined to comment.
For fans feeling let down by Halo Infinite, one of the biggest sticking points has been the game’s lack of playable multiplayer maps. But the introduction of Forge could fix that practically overnight. Historically, the best community-made maps have cycled in and out of matchmaking, which means the potential number of maps that could be included is limited only by players’ imaginations.
As one YouTube commenter put it, “Holy moly this forge is gonna be GOAT.”